Are Your Facebook Referrals Are On The Rise?

By: Chris Crum - April 21, 2014

There has been a lot of discussion about Facebook killing the organic reach of posts that Pages make, essentially forcing businesses to pay to actually get their messages viewed in the News Feed. Many have considered dropping their Facebook strategy altogether, and one Page made a lot of headlines when it actually did. Despite this organic reach drop-off, Facebook appears to be driving more traffic to sites than ever.

Have your Facebook referrals increased over the past several months? Decreased? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook has always been about sharing, and that’s really what needs to happen now for sites to see traffic from the social network. Chances are you’re not going to get very much if you’re just pushing your own content out on your Facebook Page. The traffic is going to come from people finding your content, and then sharing it with their friends.

Shareaholic has released its Q1 2014 Social Media Traffic Report. The data comes from over 300,000 sites reaching over 400 million unique monthly visitors from December through March.

Facebook referrals have grown by 5.81 percentage points since December with 21.25% of the overall traffic sent to sites, according to the report.

This continues a trend that has been happening for a while. Late last year, Shareaholic looked at Facebook’s share of overall visits from November 2012 to November 2013:

“While brands enjoy hating on Facebook for limiting the reach of Pages and then forcing businesses to pay for ads, Facebook still continues to refer loads of traffic to websites when users share links they enjoy with all of their friends,” says Shareaholic’s Danny Wong. “Though, last month, Eat24 caused a ruckus because it initiated a ‘breakup’ with Facebook, brands will never be bold enough to actually prevent users from ‘liking’ or ‘sharing’ things from their sites to Facebook. Eat24′s popular breakup letter received more than 26k Facebook likes and shares. While most brands may have lost faith in their Fan Pages, they know the world’s largest social network will still bless them with tons of organic traffic.”

“Facebook users love to — or can’t help but — click links on their feed,” he says.

The data appears to validate Facebook’s own strategy. People are clicking on the links they’re actually seeing more and more. That’s of little consolation to businesses who have a hard time getting there in the first place, but it does appear to be the case.

In case you’re wondering what kinds of sites the data is analyzing, Wong says the network is “well diversified, with sites ranging from independent lifestyle blogs to publishing companies to commerce sites.”

Pinterest came in second in referrals behind Facebook, growing by 48% (2.31 percentage points since December. Twitter is number three, but StumbleUpon is gaining on it, growing by 4.91% (0.13 percentage points) during the quarter.

Interestingly, YouTube’s share dropped by over half (52%) over the quarter, though according to another report from Shareaholic, it dominates when it comes to post-click engagement on sites. In that report, Facebook didn’t do so hot, so make of that what you will. How much are these Facebook referrals really helping sites?

For average pages per visit, Facebook was below Twitter and LinkedIn, and well below Google+ and YouTube. It still beat out Pinterest, reddit, and StumbleUpon. Average bounce rate was identical to Twitter and Pinterest, and higher than LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube. Reddit was the highest, closely followed by StumbleUpon. For average time on site, Facebook was slightly higher than Twitter, but not as high as LinkedIn, and not even close to as high as Google+ or YouTube.

Forrester VP, Principal Analyst Nate Elliott recently wrote, “On average, top brands have collected 90% as many fans on Plus as on Twitter (In fact, the brands we studied have more followers on Google Plus than on YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram combined.),” he writes. “Second, and more importantly, Google Plus generates much more brand engagement than you think. Recently we studied more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks. The result? Brands’ Google Plus posts generated nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts — and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts.”

We recently had a conversation with the 20th most popular person on Google+, who had some advice for getting more out of that network if Facebook’s not doing it for you.

Are you seeing a good amount of traffic from Facebook? Is that traffic valuable? Let us know in the comments.

Images via Shareaholic

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • wertwert

    Flaw… Its not year over year for each month… seasonality is not growth… also Google+ only has numbers because of forced integration with youtube… that is why G+ went from being the bottom of the list loser to always being next to youtube in the info-graphics… its the exact same traffic not a willing choice to use google plus.

  • bloketoys

    We abandoned FB recently, and diverted our efforts to Twitter and Tumblr. We’ve seen a decline in traffic from FB, but the increase from others has more than made up for it.

    Facebook is dead when it comes to spending on marketing, it’s just that many businesses haven’t figured this out yet.

    Facebook is being increasingly exposed as predominantly fraudulent, if you operate a business page on there, check out the people who you advertised to and who liked your company, then view where they are and how they have interacted with your content.

    Chances are high that the majority of your money has been wasted on encouraging fraudulent likes from people in India, and that they routinely like thousands of companies and pages without ever interacting with them.

    Even if companies want to keep their FB page open, wise ones are rolling back their use of it in favor of free advertising through genuine social networking offered by alternatives.